I don’t know why people ask anyone retiring what they will do after retiring. They have already done what they wanted to do and they are retiring from that. Speaking of retiring I watched David Letterman’s last show aired last night this morning online.
Letterman wrapped up his 33-year-old legend without getting mired in emotional slush. It was as if I caught his show midweek like any other week and not the very last show of his career. That says much about Letterman’s unsentimental but unfailingly funny personality. His formidable reputation as a late night comic genius slipped right through his trademark gap in his front teeth. It is just as well that Letterman kept the tone of the finale so measured and devoid of sentimentality that usually marks all such finales. Anything different would have sounded unconvincing.
Unlike Jay Leno, who consistently outpaced Letterman right up in until his retirement, there was something to Letterman that suggested menacing amiability. Sitting in that chair behind his desk there was no telling how Letterman might trip his guests irrespective of who they were. I couldn’t be described as a Letterman regular or, for that matter, a late night regular but whenever I did watch I usually watched Letterman. His lanky sauntering felt as if he was in precisely the place where should ever be. That is probably why people are wondering what he might do after retiring. Should he be anywhere but in precisely the place where he should ever be? Personally, I think it is wise to retire now. After all how much more can or should he do?
Like Letterman himself—or at any rate what he has shown publicly—I have no emotional response to his departure other than applauding his unrivaled influence on late night television. So here is to David Letterman.